As much as I enjoy shopping, and I really do, there is nothing like breathing new life into old clothes. Finding something rare, mixing it up, making it shine and making it your own. So, this post is a celebration of secondhand style and shares the best to shop preloved fashion.
You see, truth be told, there’s fashion and then there’s style. Style is innate or discovered, it’s individual and alive. If you are lucky enough to have style, you will always look amazing, whatever your age or finances. Don’t worry about fashion, wear what makes you happy.
I have been shopping second hand since I was a teenager. I used to go to Car Boot sales and come home with 70s leather jackets and glittery knits. A couple of years later, I would check out charity shops rather then by new, simply because it was all I could afford as a poor art student. In university I mastered the art of mixing vintage with designer (I worked in Harvey Nichols with a generous staff discount), second hand and high street.
“I have been shopping second hand since I was a teenager. I used to go to Car Boot sales and come home with 70s leather jackets and glittery knits. “
I studied the history of the High Street as part of my degree and it has democratised fashion, making it truly accessible. However, there is something to be said for the speed of consumption – fast fashion, destroying traditional fashion seasons and replacing them with blocks as little as 3 weeks, where new collections are pushed out for us to BUY BUY BUY! The problem is we all end up looking the same. We all get our hit of the new and feel like we belong, before getting bored and moving on to the next. Meanwhile the landfills are piling high, people are literally dying to produce our fashion fixes AND clothes are falling apart after a few wears because margins are tight and they do not enjoy the same care and skill in their construction.
“However, there is something to be said for the speed of consumption – fast fashion, destroying traditional fashion seasons and replacing them with blocks as little as 3 weeks, where new collections are pushed out for us to BUY BUY BUY! “
I recently gave my Instagram style challenge #DOPEFRIDAY a preloved theme. I really wanted the Mums That Slay crew to celebrate slow fashion, a more ethical way of dressing. It was just as popular as I imagined, but what I loved where the various sources of peoples’ amazing outfits. Here are my favourites.
ONE. CHARITY SHOP
Fusty, but so NOT dusty, charity shops are a treasure trove of finds. I have amassed such an amazing selection of pieces over the years, including shoes, bags, jewellery and of course clothes, especially because of all the great options for clothing labels that they come with which are appealing to collect. Take your time, go with an open mind and be strategic with where you shop. In my experience, more affluent areas will be filled with designer pieces, middle class areas will have the cashmere and the LK Bennets and great kids pieces and your regular endz (shout out to ma fellow Croydon peeps) may well be filled with loads of Prada Mark, but will also have amazing pieces from local nanas, other countries and awesome menswear, my first stop for denim and leather.
“Take your time, go with an open mind and be strategic with where you shop. “
TWO. EBAY AND RESALE SITES
I can’t speak for anything other then eBay which has been my preferred selling and buying site for over a decade now. I love the thrill of the win and the fact your purchases are protected. If you’re not obsessed with the seasons, but know the shops you like, simply type in their name and your dress size ….happy bidding. Tip, wait until the last 10 seconds and then type in your final bid on 5….you won girl, yaas you won!
“I love the thrill of the win and the fact your purchases are protected.”
Where do we start here? The vintage fashion scene doesn’t play, don’t come looking for bargains, this is where you come to revere and respect. This is where you can buy that stunning 1970s designer bag, this is where you champion great design and bring old trends into the 21st century with a twist. Some people have their specific decade, others pull from them all. I’m a huge fan of the 1930s and 70s, with a love of 80s denim. Some of my favourite vintage buys include an Oscar De La Renta silk scarf and pink cashmere aquascutum blazer. There are vintage websites of course, but I prefer actual shops where you can touch and try on.
“This is where you can buy that stunning 1970s designer bag, this is where you champion great design and bring old trends into the 21st century with a twist.”
FOUR. CLOTHES SWAP
This is by far becoming one of my favourite methods of getting free quality preloved fashion. I first got into them when my friend Vivi started hosting them at her house. Like-minded friends brought a whole load of goodies – all in great nick and desperate for a good home. Some things look one way on you, but on someone else, with their swag and style AMAZING. My favourite green wool culottes were from a swap I organised at my church and my sequinned Topshop cardigan (which I wore weekly until it got savaged by moths) was from Vivi’s clothes swap. I personally think it’s best to keep them relatively small. It’s so important to have trust with clothes swap, know that everyone is bringing the good stuff, so it’s fair. The best bit is everything that is left over gets taken to charity shops – win win!
“Like-minded friends brought a whole load of goodies – all in great nick and desperate for a good home. Some things look one way on you, but on someone else, with their swag and style AMAZING.”
FIVE. SOCIAL MEDIA
This is new to me, but one of the #Dopefriday entrees mentioned she had bought part of her outfit off Instagram. Of course – doh! So many fashion influencers and parents are setting up shop on their accounts or spin off pages where people can buy from them. I must say, you really are on your own for trusting them to send the goods, but at least if you like it and love it, you can buy it at a fraction of the price.
“So many fashion influencers and parents are setting up shop on their accounts or spin off pages where people can buy from them.”
So there we have it, my top 5 ways to shop preloved fashion.
The entrees for #Dopefriday were AMAZING, here are some highlights. Make sure you head over to the page to see the rest. What are your experiences shopping or wearing preloved fashion? Why not let me know in the comments.
Are you in the Mums That Slay Crew? If not join in the fun and hashtag #MumsThatSlay on Instagram, I love to celebrate your style on my page @mumsthatslay
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